"In the Western media," said Carrilho, "there are First World diseases and Third World diseases, and the attention devoted to the latter depends on the threat they pose to us, not on a universal measure of human suffering."

Excerpt by Joseph Hooper from Men’s Journal | Sept. 2014 | Vol. 23, No. 9

MAKE A GROCERY LIST WITH THESE FOODS || You can’t go wrong eating fresh veggies, fruits, and legumes, as well as nuts and seeds, which pack the most nutrition into the least amount of calories. To zero in, however, here are the specific foods according to research scientists, that are cardio champs. For magnesium, a mineral essential to heart health (and one most of us don’t get enough of): dark leafy greens such as kale, arugula, spinach; squash and pumpkin seeds; mackerel; avocados. For potassium, another balm for the heart: white beans, sweet potatoes, mushrooms. For fiber to feed the all-important gut bacteria: leeks, onions, asparagus, garlic. For antioxidants to protect the blood vessels: berries, apples, cherries, and green tea. For B vitamins to fuel the heartbeat: lean, unprocessed red meat, poultry, and any legumes. For omega-3 fatty acids: salmon, sardines, and halibut.

WHEN IN DOUBT, GO MEDITERRANEAN || A major study in the New England Journal of Medicine last year found eating this way — greens, fish, nuts, olive oil — lowered the incidence of heart disease, heart attacks, and heart-disease-related deaths by 30 percent. (Researchers actually shut down the study after just under five years because the results were so conclusive.)

QUESTION ANYTHING THAT COMES IN A WRAPPER || Packaged breads and bagels, frozen dinners, and middle-aisle snack foods — even health-store products with all-natural or gluten-free buzzwords — can contain added sugar, refined carbs, and mass-produced corn and soy oils, mostly genetically modified and over-heavy in omega-6 fatty acids. When omega-6s are not adequately balanced by omega-3s from fish and leafy greens, they can contribute to the pro-inflammatory coronary cocktail that even effective pharma drugs can’t counter. As Dr. Michael Greger, the physician and nutritionist behind NutritionFacts.org, puts it, “Say no to drugs by saying yes to more plants.”

Article by Alison Leininger from Creative Loafing Charlotte (clclt.com) | Sept. 11-17, 2014 | Vol. 28, No. 29

I’ll admit to a certain sense of self-righteousness when I make my weekly pilgrimage to the farmers market. Up early on a Saturday, sometimes before the sun, driving on empty roads through the first steeply slanted light cutting across the landscape, it’s easy to feel exceptional. While others are blearily pouring their first cup of coffee, I’m already demonstrating my support of our local food system.

Yet no matter how early I arrive at the market, I’m never there first. Even on the darkest, rainiest, coldest mornings, the vendors greet me within booths strategically arranged with baskets, coolers and scales. I merely had to find matching socks and a T-shirt that wasn’t too wrinkled; they had to load up hundreds of pounds of produce or meat before driving in from dozens of miles away, then unloading it all and making it pretty on rough wooden tables. When I pick up a tomato, I’m holding a short story that began an hour’s drive away in a field I’ve never seen.

On Walnut Ridge Farms, that field lies in Chine Grove in Rowan County. Friday morning finds owner Daryl Simpson starting his day at 10:30, after working an early-morning part-time shift at UPS.

“My goal is to pick on Friday and serve on Saturday,” Simpson says, “to get you the [freshest] items you can get.” He’s been in the farming business for just two years, bringing vegetables, eggs and chicken to the Matthews Community Farmers Market.

After a quick breakfast and chicken care, the amiable new farmer does a walk-through of his fields, to check for insect damage and see what’s ready to pick. “Basically, it’s me harvesting everything,” he says. “[My wife] Tonya helps out when it really gets tough, but on Fridays she’s not available.” He picks each vegetable by hand, stashing peppers, okra, tomatoes in clear plastic totes before carrying them to the truck on his shoulder.

Simpson spends about eight hours on field work, including soil preparation and other maintenance chores, before heading back to the house, a 10-minute drive away in Concord. But it’s not time yet to relax with a beer in front of the TV. The harvest has to be washed and prepped for sale, in a special processing area next to the house.

Tomatoes are rinsed; carrots, beets and greens are bundled with rubber bands or sealed in zip-top gallon bags.

While Tonya packages chickens processed the previous day, their 4-year-old daughter Emma helps Dad wash squash. Bedtime comes late for everyone on Friday night.

Not far down the road, on Wild Turkey Farms, harvesting takes on a different meaning. Since 1998, Lee and Domisty Menius have raised pastured pork, chicken, beef and lamb on land that’s been in the family for 140 years. For them, harvesting means loading animals onto a truck for delivery to a local processing plant, with frozen chops, wings and sausages returning a week later.

The farm’s primary products are pork and chicken. “Pigs are relatively cooperative,” says Lee, explaining that he can load them without assistance. He parks the trailer in their pen a day or two early, feeding the pigs inside and sorting which ones are ready for slaughter.

Catching and crating the chickens, on the other hand, is a family affair. While their 8- and 10-year-old sons man the crates, Lee and Domisty capture up to 400 birds in an hour. Not all the squawking comes from the animals. “There’s a lot of bitching by the kids,” jokes Lee. “’It’s his turn to grab the chicken; I don’t wanna grab the chicken.’”

Although their meats are wrapped and labeled by the processor, the farmers have the task of keeping it all cold during blazing hot Carolina summers. After dealing for years with ice and coolers, they recently invested in a refrigerated trailer. “It’s the best move we ever made,” Lee says. Prior to that purchase, he had to get up at 4 a.m. on market days to put iced coolers on a truck; now he can load whenever he has the time. “Saturday, I get home from market, I can load up the trailer and I’m good for the next week.”

While Lee can sleep in until 5:30 on market mornings, over at Walnut Ridge, the alarms start going off at 3 a.m. Tonya Simpson rises first, to write prices on the whiteboard sign, set up the cash drawer and pack Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) baskets. Daryl gets up an hour later. “My first thing is to get my cup of coffee,” he laughs, “and then out the door I go to start loading up.”

The truck full, Simpson leaves home by 6:15 for the 45-minute drive to Matthews. He prefers to arrive an hour early to avoid jockeying for parking space in the aisle by his booth. Once unloaded, the rest of his time is spent arranging baskets of veggies and setting up his WiFi-connected register system.

For Lee, not only is the drive to the Davidson Farmers Market shorter, but with the freezer trailer, his setup is simple. “Five minutes before the market opens, I open the door, set up my table and I’m done.”

By 8 a.m., each farmer stands ready to greet morning shoppers and play various roles. “You’ve got to be the farmer, the salesman and the chef,” says Lee, adding that a good vendor should know at least two ways to cook everything he sells. Both men understand the importance of connecting with customers, answering questions and suggesting recipes. “People want to talk,” says Simpson. “This is their Saturday morning adventure.”

He’s right. My self-righteous market experience depends on that connection with the people who grow my food. It requires not only understanding where my tomatoes come from and how my chicken was raised, but appreciating the work that brings them to me. While I head to my kitchen to contemplate lunch, the farmers are packing up and starting home for another day of work. There are hogs to slop and fields to maintain, in preparation for next week’s market.

According to new research, being cynical doesn’t just make you a bummer to be around, it may also cause actual brain damage. A team of researchers at the University of Eastern Finland surveyed nearly 1,500 people — gauging their level of cynical distrust by their responses to statements such as “I think most people would lie to get ahead.” They found that the risk of developing dementia in later years was three times higher in the participants who were more cynical than those who demonstrated low levels of cynicism.

"These results add to the evidence that people’s view on life and personality may have an impact on their health," the study’s author explained in a statement. Other studies have shown that people who are cynical also have higher rates of heart problems and cancer.

My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit — not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength — that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:14-19 (MSG)


This can be a strange word. It’s almost like you have to have it in order to understand it. It’s all or nothing. You can’t stand on top of a bridge with a bungee cord around your legs and say, “I’m going to jump off this bridge to see if I have faith that this cord will hold me and not send me, instead, plummeting to the rocks below.” No, you jump because you already have faith in the cord’s ability to hold you. The jumping is the proof that you know you will be caught by the bungee. Otherwise, you would not jump. Right?


You jump because you have exhausted every other option and you have nothing left, nowhere else to place your faith and you are desperate. Perhaps faith is also like someone running towards a cliff, fleeing an avalanche. They see a rope at the edge of the cliff, they grab it and jump; without time to think of whether or not it was attached to anything, whether or not it was rotten or frayed. They see the rope for what it is, a last ditch effort for salvation.

Bob Utley says: "Physical reality is known by the five senses, and is not eternal, but fleeting. True, eternal reality is unseen and; therefore, must be held by faith, not sight. However, it is so real and true to believers that it controls and demands their priorities."

In the book of Mark 5 we see a woman who, after 12 years of failure to heal her body’s illness, the pressing awareness that she was getting worse instead of better and the exhaustion of all of her finances, desperately threw her doubts, brokenness, suffering, rejection and hopes at the cliff’s edge/feet of Jesus. She reached for the hem of His garment and jumped, saying, “If I only touch His garments, I shall be restored to health,” and in her reckless abandon, she was healed. That day, the glory of Christ was seen, not only in her healing but also in her faith. Her good was found not only in her body’s mending but also in her faith’s affirmation.

Whether a calculated jump or a last-minute launch of faith, His glory will ALWAYS be for our good.

Andrew Belle
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Chill afternoons call for chill tunes. Here’s one I thought I’d share.

I’m becoming more aware of God’s UNEXPLAINABLY perfect timing and His piecing together the seemingly random failures and successes of my life into one extraordinary #glorystory for Him. When I rededicated my life to Christ in January, I knew absolutely NOTHING of the doors that would open for me. But I had yet to realize that in order to walk through those doors of opportunity, I would need to step forward, again and again and again, in complete, UNBREAKABLE faith. So I have. And despite my mishaps along the way, heartbreaking as they were and sometimes still are, praise is and shall remain on my tongue. Psalms 34:9 says, “Worship God if you want the best; worship opens doors to all his goodness.” My time with @elevationworship has not only intensified my passion for leading a life that is anchored 24/7 in Jesus… but also ignited a fervor to see people IMPROVED, their lives TRANSFORMED, and their callings CLARIFIED through the physical act of worship and also engaging DAILY in the lifestyle of a true worshiper who places the Lord foremost, “walks the talk” (i.e. lives out the Word), expects incredible acts of genuine faith and love, and honors God with every thought, word and action. Once a person develops a heart that seeks more of God, the “luxuries” of this world and the desire for them fall away. Not that they become less luxurious… it’s just the ULTIMATE SOLUTION to their entire life of battling hurt, disappointment, discontentment, dissatisfaction, doubt and indecision, wanting more, needing more, etc. is God. BECAUSE SEEKING GOD IS SEEKING ONLY THE MOST EXCELLENT… something the world is incapable of ever offering. Something that dream job, alcohol, substance abuse, sex, riches, you-name-it could NEVER offer. The simplicities of life are more beautiful when layers of false hope, shallow happiness, and meaningless busyness are washed away by the blood of Jesus. And that’s just it: Life has become so much more beautiful, simple, MEANINGFUL. All because every layer of crap up until this moment has been cleansed… forgiven and forgotten. All through FAITH… resurrendering to God, reaccepting Christ… believing that His work at the cross was true. Moving forward, I can approach His throne boldly knowing that my “sins are covered.” This was our anthem last night during rehearsal. It was a battle cry that arose after 2 hours of flowing in God’s presence. Sure, my keys and @anthonyj_torres’s drums were ON POINT… but the promises @vsteez_e, @amandajenelle, @brizzle21, Josh and I would sing out during builds were INDESCRIBABLE. Grateful to worship on stage alongside this crew. And stoked to lead my church family into God’s presence this weekend!

This thing that is
but we often cannot see.
Too close for us to see the magnitude,
the glory of this structure.
We often see the detail
but not the stretching, sweeping scale of the thing.

It wraps us up.
Holds us.
So we consider it gentle. Warm. Kind.
We do not see, though, the violent nature.
The wrath and hate for the converse… our sin.

We do not see the scale.
We touch what is visible through our tunnel eyes and say “grace.”
But we see only a fragment of the grand, scandalous tapestry
that God has woven together over time.

The fabric of the world itself.
The very reason the stars are strung together.
When we choose to put one foot in front of the next, it’s grace.

This gracious glory buried within us,
beating on our ribs to speak of his wonder.
With this touch, life is given.

The giver’s love is this cloak.
This sea of blue green forgetfulness. This face of majesty.
The crackling, roaring thunder.

Grace, his sound.
Glory, his bright display.
Breaks and creates. And finds us. And we’re found.

The split curtain. The opened back.
The mingling blood and water.
The flood that destroys the world we’ve built.
All the earth submitting to his power.

The Cross.

Grace wrapped in triumphant glory.
He is the eyes-shut embrace. The driving rain.
The wind blows; but only at his word.

And this same fury, this sin-thrashing storm…
is the tempest that bows to wash our feet.
And this same fury, this sin-thrashing storm…
is the tempest that bows to wash our feet.

On Our Way
The Royal Concept
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Today screams Royal Concept [who, by the way, will be performing at Amos’ Southend in Charlotte on March 19], so I dedicate this song to my returning to Tumblr. Yes, I’m back. And yes, I’ll update often. Cheers!